April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. While many of the problems that face our world today seem unstoppable, child abuse is not one of them. Everyone holds the power to be a hero, prevent child abuse and give children the healthy childhoods they deserve. It is not an impossible task. Take a moment to learn what you can do to keep kids safe - and then share these tips with your friends and family. We can make a difference in the lives of children. Let’s start now, in April, by following these sexual abuse prevention tips:
Teach your children the proper name for all of their body parts. This teaches that the genitals, while private, are not so private that you can’t talk about them.
Teach your children about the privacy of body parts, and that no one has the right to touch their bodies if they don’t want that to happen. Children should also learn to respect other people's right to privacy.
Teach children early and often that there are no secrets between children and their parents. They should feel comfortable talking with their parent about anything -- good or bad, fun or sad, easy or difficult.
Be aware of adults who offer children special gifts or toys, or adults who want to take your child on a “special outing” or to special events.
Enroll your child in a daycare and other programs that have a parent “open door” policy. Monitor and participate in activities whenever possible.
As children age, create an environment at home in which sexual topics can be discussed comfortably. Use news items and publicized reports of child sexual abuse to start discussions of safety, and reiterate that children should always tell a parent about anyone who is doing things that make them uncomfortable.
Let children know they won’t get in trouble. Many perpetrators use secret-keeping or threats as a way of keeping children quiet about abuse. Remind your child frequently that they will not get in trouble for talking to you, no matter what they need to say. If they do come to you, follow through on this promise and avoid punishing them for speaking up.